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AKG-550: New in box or open box for $23 less or refurb for $68 less?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

So I have done all my research and decided on the AKG K550 headphones.  I went to my local Best Buy to test them out due to the comments that a good seal was highly recommended.  Fortunately, my head cooperated and I believe the phones sit well with no leakage.  They sounded amazing - especially in comparison to some of the other test units they had like the logitech UE6000.

 

The guy gave me 10% off the headphones as it was their last pair and he wanted to make the sale.  With tax (8.6% here in the People's Republic of Washington), I walked out for $293.  Crutchfield right now has factory refurbished units for $225 with free shipping and no tax.  They also have open box units for $270.

 

What is the consensus as to ordering a factory refurbished unit or an open box unit for a savings of either $68 or $23 respectively?  I have ordered other factory refurbished electronics in the past, but never headphones. 

 

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

post #2 of 9

I'd gladly pay 293 for brand new & sealed over 270 open box

(even from Crutchfield, who IME is a stellar merchant).

 

I'd even more gladly pay 293 brand new & sealed over 225 refurbished.

 

I've worked in hi end retail electronics...

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

I'd gladly pay 293 for brand new & sealed over 270 open box

(even from Crutchfield, who IME is a stellar merchant).

 

I'd even more gladly pay 293 brand new & sealed over 225 refurbished.

 

I've worked in hi end retail electronics...

I'm assuming you mention this because you've noticed some consistent quality problems with open/refurb products? I've definitely seen questionable results from refurb/opened electronics like phones/tablets/laptops/etc, but not simpler stuff like headphones...

Personally, unless it was something complicated like a computer, I would definitely go for the 'refurbished' route. Actually refurbished products tend to get more QA attention so usually they're a safer bet than even brand new products (though for some retailers, 'refurbished' items are sometimes really just open-box/blemished-packaging products though). The main difference with refurbs is really just the packaging, cause a lot of refurbs don't have the original packaging and just come in some simple/cheap generic bag/box or something (not that I mind, I'm kind of annoyed with getting big ass fancy headphone boxes with my purchases).

Open-box would be my second choice, if the price is right. But you have to make sure to read the comments on it or ask the seller about it just to be safe. That being said, I've never received an 'open-box' item in less-than-new condition. If you're smart about it, it's easy to find great deals basically just due to some cut tape.

I only go new as a last resort. I buy new if I feel there's a high probability that I will want to return it, and I can't find any really great deals that would let me sell it at a reasonable price later. Or if the product/manufacturer seems to have a high rate of malfunction, and it's not clear whether used/open-box items would be covered.

In general though, unless I can get at least about 10% off through alternate versions, I'll buy new just in case (despite my logical brain telling me that there's no difference rolleyes.gif)


Edited by oblique63 - 2/9/13 at 1:23am
post #4 of 9

For me, on a $200 to $300 item (almost any kind of retail item, but definitely retail electronics),

saving 10% is not a sufficient discount to turn me away from buying brand new & sealed.

I'm not attempting to do any convincing here; it's just my personal POV after having been 

around the block a few times - not old yet, but not a kid anymore either.  ;-)

 

 

Also -

 

not sure why you consider headphones 'simple' and computers 'complicated'.

The manufacturing processes of higher grade headphones can be more

'complicated' than many computers which are assembled today almost

entirely by machines i.e. 'robots'.

post #5 of 9
I wasn't speaking in terms of manufacturing complexity, but in terms of operational complexity. Usage of computers varies a lot more wildly than the typical usage of headphones, which means they'll likely have to handle a more complex array of tasks in their lifetime, and it's never a safe bet that they will be able to handle everything you throw at them without bursting into flames, lol. I deal with computers a lot, and have managed large rooms full of them (both servers and desktops), so I know how stupidly fragile they are. That's why I don't gamble with used/refurbs for them. But having owned pretty much as many headphones as computers, I can't say good headphones are anywhere near as fragile... Cheaper ones are a different story however. Used to go through nearly half a dozen iems per year back in my pre-head-fi days, lol.

Also, I only set my minimum at 10% cause when looking at something in the price of HD800's/LCD-3's/TH900's/etc, 10% is a reasonable chunk of change...
Edited by oblique63 - 2/9/13 at 2:20am
post #6 of 9

Is there a reason you must buy from BestBuy? There were plenty of pairs on ebay and Amazon ranging between $220 to $250, either in like-new condition or brand new.
 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by oblique63 View Post

I wasn't speaking in terms of manufacturing complexity, but in terms of operational complexity. Usage of computers varies a lot more wildly than the typical usage of headphones, which means they'll likely have to handle a more complex array of tasks in their lifetime, and it's never a safe bet that they will be able to handle everything you throw at them without bursting into flames, lol. I deal with computers a lot, and have managed large rooms full of them (both servers and desktops), so I know how stupidly fragile they are. That's why I don't gamble with used/refurbs for them. But having owned pretty much as many headphones as computers, I can't say good headphones are anywhere near as fragile... Cheaper ones are a different story however. Used to go through nearly half a dozen iems per year back in my pre-head-fi days, lol.

Also, I only set my minimum at 10% cause when looking at something in the price of HD800's/LCD-3's/TH900's/etc, 10% is a reasonable chunk of change...

 

Indeed - now we agree!

 

Not sure why, but I'd been under the (mis)impression that you were talking about two hundred and three hundred dollar items.

 

 

Cheers.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagheera View Post

Is there a reason you must buy from BestBuy? There were plenty of pairs on ebay and Amazon ranging between $220 to $250, either in like-new condition or brand new.
 

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  I do not have to buy from BB, I was just there to demo the headphones and the guy gave me 10% off.  I figured I could always return them.

 

I did check Amazon - their price right now is $299 (and I would have to pay tax on top of that) and there is one used paid someone is selling that has "minor scratches".  I passed on that one.

 

I also checked ebay and many of the ones available are at $290+.  There were a few "new in box" ones for about $240-250, but me being the skeptical guy I am, I always wonder how someone has a product that is supposedly new in box and is selling it for 20% less than regular stores.

 

I think my main debate is whether to pick up one of the refurbs from Crutchfield as I think oblique63 has a good point about the QA being better on a refurbed item since it has likely been fully inspected.  I also would trust Crutchfield and I also do not need the original box.

 

On the other hand, another advantage with BB is when I put the headphones to the test over the next 30 days, if anything is wrong with them, I can just drive them a few miles and return them or swap them out (I have a couple BBs locally that still have them in stock, just not the closest one).

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by fcastle View Post

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.  I do not have to buy from BB, I was just there to demo the headphones and the guy gave me 10% off.  I figured I could always return them.

 

I did check Amazon - their price right now is $299 (and I would have to pay tax on top of that) and there is one used paid someone is selling that has "minor scratches".  I passed on that one.

 

I also checked ebay and many of the ones available are at $290+.  There were a few "new in box" ones for about $240-250, but me being the skeptical guy I am, I always wonder how someone has a product that is supposedly new in box and is selling it for 20% less than regular stores.

 

I think my main debate is whether to pick up one of the refurbs from Crutchfield as I think oblique63 has a good point about the QA being better on a refurbed item since it has likely been fully inspected.  I also would trust Crutchfield and I also do not need the original box.

 

On the other hand, another advantage with BB is when I put the headphones to the test over the next 30 days, if anything is wrong with them, I can just drive them a few miles and return them or swap them out (I have a couple BBs locally that still have them in stock, just not the closest one).


Haha! Looks like nobody's tossed up more used pairs onto Amazon yet - I know the "slightly scratched" used pair you are talking about, I saw it when I ordered mine (there were only two pairs of used ones, the other pair was in flawless like-new condition at $230 - including shipping, so that's the one I got)

 

As for the "new in box" ones at $240-250, I really wouldn't worry about the authenticity of the item. eBay has a pretty stringent buyer protection policy; if there's something seriously wrong with your item, you will typically be reimbursed quickly.  I have never had someone on ebay ship me an item described as "brand new" that isn't. wink.gif

 

You have to keep in mind, a lot of sellers on ebay are actually retailers "in disguise" (meaning they technically have a "store" and presented themselves to the manufacturers as such, so were able to obtain the merchandise at wholesale prices), but when they sale on ebay they skimp on sales tax and all that, and since they got ahold of their merchandise at wholesale prices, they can afford to undercut sellers who are selling at retail prices, and still make a profit.

 

As for BB, yes the return policy would be convenient - but personally:

  • You are paying somewhere between an extra $50-80 just to get that return policy (actually, more, if you count the tax - which will be hefty at $299)
  • For ebay or Amazon purchases, even if the seller doesn't let you return the item, you can easily resell it at nearly the same price (open-box but like-new items often sale for the same price as brand new items - $10-20 less at the very most).
  • The amount of money you save from not buying at Best Buy easily compensates for the amount of money you would lose if you decided to resell your item on ebay or Amazon.

 

That's the way I look at it anyway. :) If you really like the sound of K550, and it has a very good chance of staying with you for a while, I don't see any reason to pay extra at BB.


Edited by Bagheera - 2/9/13 at 3:39pm
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